The teaching materials for the learning experience on “The Plan of Salvation” are divided into three parts. In part 2, students will review the principles of acquiring spiritual knowledge. They will also participate in a practice exercise that will help them apply the doctrine they learned from the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and from Doctrine and Covenants 76:22–24.
Ask students to raise their hand if they have ever searched for an answer using a search engine on the internet.
On average, how long does it take for the search to provide answers? (It usually takes less than a second to provide thousands of internet sites with information.)
How is searching for an answer on the internet different from learning eternal truth?
How do you feel when you need to wait for answers to important questions?
Explain that while assisting in the translation of the Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery had a strong desire to translate. After being given permission by the Lord, Oliver attempted to translate but was unsuccessful. He became frustrated.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Oliver Cowdery about the reason he was not able to translate.
What was the reason Oliver was unable to translate? (He expected to be able to translate simply because he asked. However, he did not put forth the necessary effort to study things out in his mind and then ask if it was right.)
Why is it important to know that the Lord expects us to study and put forth effort to learn for ourselves?
Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Assign each group one of the three principles of acquiring spiritual knowledge discussed in the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources. Invite each group to read aloud the paragraphs under their assigned principle, looking for words and phrases that teach how we can find answers to important questions and resolve our concerns. After sufficient time, ask each group to briefly report to the class what they found.
To help students understand how to examine concerns and questions with an eternal perspective, consider showing the video “Examining Questions with an Eternal Perspective” (2:56), which is available on LDS.org. Ask the class to watch for how a young woman named Lauren took time to think about the beliefs or assumptions that may have influenced her friend’s question about God.
How did Lauren examine her friend’s question with an eternal perspective?
Review with students the following principles from the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
Note: You may want to adapt the following scenario according to your students’ experiences and needs. You may also want to substitute names that are more common where you live.
Read the following scenario aloud, and invite students to imagine themselves having this experience:
You are sitting in a science class where the teacher and students are discussing theories about how our galaxy and solar system came into existence. The teacher takes several opportunities to attempt to discredit the idea that a divine Creator could have played a role in the creation of the world. The teacher points out multiple facts that seem to support this conclusion, and several students voice their support of the teacher’s opinion. By the end of class you are somewhat troubled as you try to reconcile what you have learned at home and in church with what you are learning in this class. By the time you arrive home, the following questions keep coming up in your mind: Was our galaxy really just formed by random events? Are we just here by chance?
Invite students to record in their class notebooks or study journals what they could do in this situation to show Heavenly Father that they are willing to act in faith. After sufficient time, divide students into pairs and invite them to share with each other what they wrote.
While students are sharing with each other, write the questions from the scenario on the board: Was our galaxy really just formed by random events? Are we just here by chance?
Invite students to think of how they could examine these questions from an eternal perspective. If students need help, consider asking the following questions or provide a handout for each student with these or other questions on it that they can discuss in pairs:
What do I know about God, and how do I know it?
What do the scriptures or recent prophets say about the Creation?
When or how have I felt the Spirit witness that there is a Creator?
Does any of the scientific evidence disprove the possibility that God exists and could have created the heavens and the earth?
How can the information that science discovers about our galaxy and the earth witness that there is a divine Creator?
After students have finished their discussion, ask them how the truths they know about God and His plan help them see the questions on the board differently.
Following this discussion, ask students what inspired sources they could search in order to find more help with the questions on the board. If possible, you may want to invite them to use their mobile devices to search LDS.org for articles and other materials that could help them examine these questions from an eternal perspective. A sample of what they find might include the following: